Saturday, May 23, 2015

Hat's Off To Grace!

Our Granddaughter Grace just graduated from 5th grade. 
She received the Principal's Award along with other things! 
Grace is a wonderful young lady.
We are very proud of her.

Today all of the Flat Mes celebrated and 
tossed their hats in the air!

Principal's award
When I think of the ideal perfect student, I often thick of this person. She is always one I can count on to be paying attention and completing her work. Her hard work reflects in the grades she earns She has been a leader in the school through safety patrol and being captain on the book battle team. Her spelling ability is amazing, and it didn't surprise me at all when she won our school spelling bee. Not only is he a model student in the classroom, but she also has a wonderful personality. She is always willing to work with any person in the class, and always has a kind word to say. This year's principal's award goes to Grace ............


We are still in Star Valley Ranch, Wyoming. . . And we are almost too busy for me to use the Internet. . . So I'll share some photos of the past couple of days.
Twin Pine Lodge and Cabins, Dubois, WY
Twin Pine Lodge and Cabins, Dubois, WY
Twin Pine Lodge and Cabins, Dubois, WY
Wyoming Scenery
Wyoming Scenery
Wyoming Scenery
Wyoming Scenery
My favorite photographer!
Wyoming Scenery
Wyoming Scenery
Beaver Dam
Antler Arch in Jackson, WY
Flat Mes at Patti's house
Flat Mes at Patti's house.
Flat Mes playing in the snow

Friday, May 22, 2015

Hanging out in Wyoming

We are in Star Valley Ranch at our friend Patti’s beautiful home. We’ll be here for a few days so I won’t be posting much. If I have time, I'll post a few pictures soon.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Hello Cowboy State!

We got up this morning to sunshine. It was actually 41 degrees when we left but the car was in the sun and registered a little warmer when we first started.

It was a great drive with very little traffic. We stopped at Fort Robinson, a military outpost in western Nebraska. It is now a state park and it would be fun to spend a few days there.

We arrive in Wyoming before mid-morning. I had to have a photo of this 1886 Redwood Water Tank in Lusk.

Did I happen to mention that we brought a Flat Me of each of  our grandchildren – all eight of them? They loved arriving in Wyoming.

Wyoming greeted us with many coal trains and lots of oil wells. We also saw many large ranches. We saw cowboys doing a roundup and later, near Crowheart, we were in the middle of a cattle drive coming down the highway! The cowboys – some on horseback and some on 4 wheelers were just nudging them along.
Cattle on the right side of the road
and on the left side of the road
One of the cowboys resting his horse
Today we saw many herds of antelope as well as sheep, llama, deer, cattle, horses, and an eagle.

We are in Dubois, WY tonight. Love this little town! We couldn’t check into our lodge because the check-in lady wasn’t available so the cleaning lady gave us the keys so we could move into our room! Later the owner spent at least an hour talking with us. So friendly! 

The Flat Mes got cowboy hats since we are in Wyoming. They looked like real cowboys!

We walked through the town and through a park. It was cool and windy but no real rain today just a few drops here and there. We had sun and clouds all day.

When it was time for dinner, our lodge owner suggested three places to eat and then said the Cowboy Café is consistently good and homemade. Our decision was made. The homemade tomato basil soup, the homemade chips and our sandwiches were all great. The peach caramel crunch pie warmed with a little ice cream was heavenly!
We shared...

 Some other photos from the day:
Nebraska scenery

Nebraska scenery
Wyoming scenery
Wyoming scenery

A stone couch in the Dubois park
The Flat Mes meeting a bronze cowboy and his horse.
Our room tonight with a handmade bed

Our lodge tonight
To make a great day even better, we just found out that our oldest Granddaughter Grace, who graduated from fifth grade tonight, received a number of certificates and a trophy (the Principal’s Award). We are so very proud of her. Way to go, Grace!

States visited on this trip: 5

Wednesday, May 20, 2015


Tonight we are in Chadron, Nebraska. It has been a great day but the weather hasn’t been… It is very cool and rained most of the day.  We left Sioux City, IA and traveled Highway 20 all the way to Chadron, NE. It is almost all 2 lane except for a very few miles just west of Sioux City. There was NO TRAFFIC – many times you couldn’t see a vehicle in any direction!

We got an early start and the temperature only went down!
45 degrees at 7:56 AM
We kept seeing a bike path near the road and finally found it on the Internet – the Cowboy Trail
Cowboy Trail on Jeep's GPS
It is a rail trail – set on an old railroad bed that was called the Cowboy Line. When I found it on my phone, I saw a photo of a trestle bridge where the trail crossed the Niobrara River near Valentine, NE. We kept our eyes open and found the bridge. 
Trestle bridge that Cowboy Trail crosses
Then we circle around a few miles, parked and hiked part of the trail out to the bridge.
Cowboy Trail
Ray on the Cowboy Trail trestle bridge crossing the Niobrara River
After our hike, we went on to Valentine and stopped at the Ranger Station. After an interesting visit with the Ranger, we headed EAST to the Fort Niobrara National Wildlife Refuge. The road was gravel and sand with a lot of moisture and some mud. So glad we had Jeep and that Jeep has 4-wheel drive! We finally got to Berry Bridge and saw the waterfall. We enjoyed a picnic there in the car. 
Waterfall at Berry Bridge on the Niobrara River near Valentine, NE
Throughout the day, we saw a herd of elk, a bison, two antelope, a turkey with his feathers out, a pheasant, and lots of birds.
Elk herd in Fort Niobrara National Wildlife Refuge
Bison at overlook off of Outlaw Trail
We traveled the Outlaw Trail on our way back west to Valentine.

The Ranger was telling us that they had snow yesterday and last night but you really couldn’t tell until we got about 70 miles further down the road. There was snow in the fields and the buttes and mesas were covered! Chadron got 6” last night! 

Part of Highway 20 is known as the Bridges to Buttes Scenic Byway and their page pretty well sums up our travels after leaving Valentine: Traveling on the Bridges to Buttes Scenic Byway is like traveling on an old Western movie set: rolling prairie, cattle, pronghorns, cowboys and cowgirls... and a lot of Native American culture, history and tradition. In the western areas you'll also find buttes, mesas and fantastic geological formations, complete with prehistoric fossils. Also along the way are well-preserved frontier military posts, large working ranches and any number of outdoor recreational opportunities.

Tomorrow we will continue on the Byway as we head to Wyoming.

States visited on this trip: 4

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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

And So It Begins...

Today we began our Great Adventure, technically called Grandma and Grandpa’s Great Adventure 2015.

We wondered just how much we could pack in the Jeep. And…everything fit! Of course we had thought about it quite a bit and didn’t try to pack things we didn’t think would fit. We have everything we need and more. 

We got an early for us start. It was 50 degrees at 8:10AM and it got even cooler before hitting a high around 54.

We prefer to only be in the car 6 hours or less a day but we will push that a little for a few days. 

It was cool and very windy today but at least the drizzle stopped and we even saw a little sun. We enjoyed a picnic lunch in our car at Oleson Park in Fort Dodge, Iowa. 

After we left Illinois, we drove in Wisconsin, back in Illinois, and most of the day on Highway 20 in Iowa. Early on, I commented that we had gone 52 miles and Ray replied, "Only 5948 to go!" It will be interesting to see how many miles we end up traveling.

Most of the Iowa miles were flat - we saw many corn fields. As we got closer to the west side, the terrain became more hilly, similar to northwest Illinois. It was interesting to see the terrace farming something we don't see much of at home.

Tonight we are in Sioux City, Iowa. We had dinner and a nice visit with our niece Carli, her children, and her dad, Ray’s brother, Ron. 
Our great nephew, niece, and great niece.
Carli's family is moving in a few days – her husband works a couple of hours away and they bought a house closer to his job. Ron is moving in a few weeks. We are delighted that they took time from very busy lives to spend with us. And we are both sporting beautiful new rubber band bracelets that our great niece made for us.

Tomorrow we plan to drive the backroads of Nebraska. That is so much nicer than traveling Interstate 80.

States visited on this trip: 3


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